Before our first child was born I asked friends that had recently had babies if we should take a childbirth class. Most of them told us no, that it was a waste of time. So being the busy woman that I was, I opted not to take the class. I thought that between discussions with friends, visits with the doctor, and books I had read that I was prepared for anything. It turns out that I was wrong. Here are the top 5 good reasons to take a childbirth class.
Learn Labor Signs
I was lucky when I had my first child. I had an appointment with my doctor the day before she was born. He told us to go to the hospital in the morning because he thought I would be dilated enough to be admitted. He was right. They did admit me the following morning. I never really get the chance to go into labor because I was given Pitocin and my epidural.
With my second child, labor came on fast and despite being a second time mom I was not prepared for it. My contractions increased fast, my water broke and I gave birth within 2 hours. We were lucky we made it to the hospital. It was much crazier than the birth of my first child. No one had ever told me that the second child usually comes faster and that my contractions could get that close together so quickly.
Prepare for the Unexpected
I went into labor so fast with my son that by the time we got to the hospital, there was no time for an epidural. Believe me when I say that I did not plan to have a natural birth without pain medication. I literally had no choice in the matter. My baby was coming whether I was ready or not. The whole time I prepared for both of my children’s births, I never once planned for the possibility that there would be no time for pain medication. If I had taken a class I would have been more prepared for this possibility and complications that might happen.
The nurses at the hospital did a great job talking me through labor pains with my second child. However, I think that going through an unplanned natural birth would have been so much easier had I learned some breathing techniques. Instead, I was completely stressed out and in so much pain I could barely concentrate. My husband said he had never seen someone grip the bedrail so hard as I did that night. Childbirth classes can help prepare you for giving birth without pain medicine.
Understand Postpartum Care
Childbirth is very traumatic on your body, no matter how smooth the delivery is. I know many woman that recover fast and well. However, that is not the case for many women. Recovery can take time and can feel awkward and embarrassing. On top of that you are caring for a newborn, and the rest of your family. It helps to know you are not alone and to learn what you can expect before it happens. You will be glad you learned about how to care for your body postpartum.
Learn Newborn Care and Breastfeeding Basics
No matter how many babies you have held and cared for in your life, you are never fully ready when you have your own. There are so many questions that you will have about newborn care. If you are breastfeeding those questions will double. This is another reason that I wish I had taken a more childbirth classes. We did a great job caring for both our babies, but I still think it would helped us to to know more. I ended up having to see a lactation consultant several times after my first child was born. She had to help me with latch and a few breastfeeding basics. I ended up successfully breastfeeding both my children, but not without struggling in the beginning.
Having babies and caring for them is tough. I wonder how different breastfeeding and my son’s birth might have been had I taken a some childbirth classes. If you are a first time expectant mom I recommend taking childbirth classes. You will be glad you did.